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Dept. of Bad Predictions

"What I really meant to say was ..."

10:40 AM, Dec 14, 2010 • By MATTHEW CONTINETTI
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I was going to put this in this week's newsletter, but ran out of space (speaking of the newsletter, sign up today!). In any case, the following quote ought to inspire modesty in all those who use present circumstances to make predictions about American politics:

By the November 1982 elections, President Reagan's thrust of trying to restore the economic beliefs of the Coolidge Era and the U.S. military supremacy of the Eisenhower Era had slowed markedly. Then, by early 1983, observers began to perceive the flaws in the political system and to fear yet another recurrence of the stalemate and disarray prevalent in the 1973-74 Watergate Era and then the Carter trauma of 1979-80. The pro-Republican 'rolling realignment' invoked by the administration in mid-1981 had already come to naught in 1982, and no new realignment seems imminent. Likewise, in mid-1982, independent 1980 presidential candidate John Anderson escalated his talk about starting a new party for another run in 1984, basically confirming Chapter 17's thesis of dealignment and fragmentation, although the two-party system may intermittently seem resurgent.

—Kevin Phillips, Post-Conservative America (1982), p. viii. The introduction to the book contains the sentence, "[D]espite Ronald Reagan's triumph in 1980, the chances for a historical 28-to-36-year cycle of Republican dominance are slim." Oops.

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